Traditionally, the welfare of a company’s employees lies within its own control. But what if that same company opts to outsource? Who looks after employee well-being then? Clearly, the working environment and employment policies of the outsourcing provider are key. Rajnish Sinha, CPO at outsourcing provider TaskUs, outlines his company’s approach.
Good day, Mr. Sinha! Thank you for giving us your time today. Could we begin with a few words on how you got started in your career in human resources?
Thank you for this opportunity. HR was actually my backup plan, not my first love; business operations was my sole focus. I was a Business major, but liked the people and business combination and went to the best HR school in India: XLRI Jamshedpur. I started my career in consumer goods and then spent a lot of time in tech and consulting, mostly with Genpact, a GE spin-off. I have really loved the opportunity of driving impact on people across my tenure in the function.
What do you find most intriguing about human resources?
I’ve always found building human connections to be very important, and particularly in my role as Chief People Officer of a global company, I find bridging cultures and forging connections across the world particularly intriguing.
Working with global talent excites me. Being in a growth industry, we are able to provide opportunities to many people all across the world.
Founded in 2008, TaskUs has been hard at work for decades delivering “ridiculously good next-generation digital outsourcing” for everyone from new-age disruptors to established icons. What’s the most exciting part of the job for you?
TaskUs gets to work with some of the most disruptive, established brands in the world—as well as some of the most exciting up-and-coming businesses. It is an amazing opportunity to provide ridiculously great solutions to the world’s most innovative brands.
But the real joy is working with refreshingly smart, creative, and transparent individuals. It is exciting to help produce the best working experience for our people to enjoy their work and soon create world-changing businesses for the brands we partner with. We all share the success as one of our Core Values is TWMTDW (Teamwork Makes the Dream Work). That’s one of our mantras.
Since its humble beginnings in a small space above an auto shop, TaskUs has grown exponentially and received numerous awards including CCW’s “2021 BPO of the Year” and Recruitment Hacker’s “2021 Best Localization Champion.” How do you think the company’s culture has played a role in its success?
Our company culture is a direct reflection of our people. And it all starts with our leadership. Co-founders Bryce Maddock and Jaspar Weir have always been steadfast in creating a company that they truly believe in, embodying a dynamic culture that puts people at the heart of TaskUs. Their unique vision for a people-first company has led to consistent growth, even during a global pandemic.
We know that investing in employee experience helps us keep our employees happy. We believe that, happy employees equate to happy clients.
Our employees are members of a closely integrated team that our clients can see and trust. I believe TaskUs has so far demonstrated a strong commitment to building a supportive workplace for all our teammates, increasing business transparency, and creating genuine partnerships with our clients. Apart from that, we are dedicated to making a positive impact on the world around us.
TaskUs has also been a consistent recipient of the “Best Company for Women” and “Best Company for Diversity” awards for many years now. What do you suggest to companies looking to be more inclusive?
For companies who want to be more inclusive, I recommend not only talking the talk, but walking the walk. At TaskUs, we’re proud to cultivate a safe, inclusive, and equitable environment that empowers every person to collaborate and thrive together regardless of age, gender, race, culture, and background. We’ve built a culture where everyone is committed to creating a positive environment and establishing a space where every employee feels included and supported.
We’ve built gender parity into our workforce and leadership team. We advocate for our teammates and their communities. We also created spaces for all of our teammates to voice concerns and share ideas for continuous improvement because we know the work of building a truly inclusive, welcoming space is never completely done.
Diversity, equity, and inclusion also start from Day 1 at TaskUs. As an equal-opportunity employer, we are committed to providing equal employment opportunities to all applicants and employees. When it comes to hiring, we believe that the more diverse the workforce is, the better.
What do you find most challenging about leading people operations for a team of overnearly 40,000 people? What is most rewarding?
The most challenging thing is also the most rewarding! As of December last year, our team is located across 23 locations in 10 different countries. We have such a large and diverse workforce, so working with TaskUs means having the opportunity to establish cohesive yet unique corporate norms across our global locations.
Leading this large team, especially during COVID, has been a bit difficult to have face-to-face interactions and have deeper insight into our employees’ lives, but it has also provided us with an opportunity to explore more hybrid and remote tools and roles.
How would you suggest that business leaders maximize employee engagement and retention?
We’re proud to have a workplace culture that genuinely prioritizes employee wellbeing and engagement. I strongly believe recognizing employee battles inside and outside their professional life is the first step to a healthy and well-rounded workforce. Over the past year, TaskUs doubled the number of life coaches and mental health professionals available to our employees. Our Wellness and Resiliency department also served as a critical lifeline for many employees as we shifted our global workforce to work-from-home early on in the pandemic.
Additionally, we encourage learning through experience with initiatives like the IdeaUs portal, which empowers our employees to share new business solutions and ideas to address current roadblocks in customer support. Instead of taking direction from leadership, the IdeaUs portal allows solutions to flow upward. Given the success of our people-first program at TaskUs, I think companies today definitely need to take employee feedback more seriously, prioritize high-quality mental health support and resources, and encourage learning through social experience.
Being a people-first company, investing in employee well-being is a winning proposition. It leads not just to higher employee engagement, but also productivity and improved morale. Although beyond offering services to employees, it all comes down to embedding a wellness mindset into the company culture and having leaders lead by example.
Your company places great emphasis on prioritizing your people and building a strong culture across global offices. Can you elaborate on what this means in practice and how it impacts your work for your clients?
TaskUs is a launchpad for disruptors to achieve growth and global scale, and employee experience is key to our success. We directly invest in our own people by bolstering valuable tools, technology, resources, and training programs solely dedicated to upskilling our workforce.
With over 40,000 employees scattered across 10 different countries, TaskUs has an incredibly international, culturally diverse workforce. We place great emphasis on building a strong people-first culture because it’s what unites us. As a global organization with offices around the world, we want to ensure that we are leveraging every opportunity to enhance our employee morale.
Mental health and wellness are also a primary focus for the TaskUs people team. Why should businesses prioritize devoting resources to ensure the wellbeing of their teams?
Wellness and Resiliency programming has become a significant differentiator for TaskUs. Simply put, it’s the right thing to do. But to make a business case, while there is a cost to making these resources and benefits available for team members, there is also a cost to not offering them. Doing nothing to invest in the wellbeing of team members results in rises in benefits claims regarding mental and physical wellness needs, increases in absenteeism, decreases in productivity, and lower employee satisfaction which can lead to burnout and attrition. Being proactive and making resources available to support team members is a clear choice.
Our clients are receptive and ready to invest because we are able to show proof of the benefits through measurable data and outcomes. They’ve also shown an increased trust, which allows for more autonomy in our working relationships.
TaskUs recently expanded further in Europe with new offices in Greece, Poland, and Romania. How have you scaled your company’s culture to these new cities?
As a people-first company, we always take into consideration the needs of our people in all our geos. We have quarterly eSAT surveys to assess this. We deep dive into the responses in this survey to understand how we can further improve our initiatives and benefits for our employees.
We also try to instill our Core Values from day 1. We constantly talk about them, and recognize people who live these values inside and outside of work.
Employee benefits and programs are a big part of the TaskUs culture and overall employee experience. As we do with every new site, we look at the specific needs and maximize the benefits for team members at that site. For example, in Greece, we’ve ensured that every teammate is automatically enrolled in a free insurance, medical, and disability expenses plan, and is eligible to enroll an unlimited number of immediate family members.
For Ireland, we have a unique gym reimbursement program as we firmly believe in a physically and mentally healthy workforce. We also provide a bike-to-work scheme wherein our teammates can avail government tax relief offering tax-free bikes for cycling to work.
Apart from those geo-specific benefits, we also have our global initiatives for all our teammates to enjoy. We offer free mental health consultations to our employees and their dependents. TaskUs also believes in giving ample career and professional development opportunities for all employees. Apart from our in-house upskilling and skills certification programs, we also have a Tuition Fee Reimbursement Program that covers a portion of the cost for furthering education toward an Associate, Bachelor, Master, or Doctoral degree, or approved certification program.
Many people would agree that the team is the backbone of any service business. And it’s even more important in terms of engineering expertise and the ability to deliver technological products. What’s your approach to building and evolving the team?
We know that in today’s working landscape, it’s as much of an interview for a prospective employee to get to know us as it is for us to get to know them. So, we’ve taken strides to make our hiring process the best in the business, to put our best foot forward, and show what our culture of respect is all about in the first impression. This helps make us a desired place to work for ridiculously talented candidates.
We also provide exceptional training for each team member and ensure they are not only valued members of the TaskUs team, but also our partner companies’ teams.
In a post-pandemic world, what issues might a company need to take into account when considering outsourcing?
We’ve all learned in the last two years that work is not the most important thing. So, as companies think about the work they want to accomplish and decide whether outsourcing is right for them, those companies should first prioritize the people who will be doing the work before the work itself.
They should ensure that any outsourcing partner also aligns with this priority and provides a working experience for team members that respects work-life balance and provides fair and equitable compensation and benefits.
The world of work has changed so much just in the last two years. What further changes do you predict for the future of the workplace?
Predictions can be tricky because none of us expected a global pandemic over two years ago, and we can never really know for sure what the future will hold. What we have found, though, is that flexibility is the most important attribute of a successful business in times of uncertainty and change. I think that flexibility will continue to define the future of work—flexible schedules, flexible workspaces, flexible locations, and flexible leadership that can adapt to what its people need, not expect people to adapt to a company’s rigid ways.
This article was originally published on 11 March 2022.
As Chief People Officer at TaskUs — a provider of outsourced digital services and next-generation customer experience to innovative and disruptive technology companies — Rajnish Sinha is responsible for leading the company’s human resources function, including recruitment, engagement, retention, and preserving the TaskUs culture. Previously, Rajnish held roles at Genpact, the HCL Group and Ernst & Young. Rajnish has earned degrees from the University of Delhi and XLRI Jamshedpur in India.